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6th school ablaze but Dept rules out arson

Published on: Sunday, June 01, 2014

Kota Kinabalu: There are no elements of sabotage or arson in fire incidents involving schools in the State of late, according to State Education Department Director Datuk Jame Alip.

He said most of the schools in the State were built in the 1970s and that the State Education Department has received a total of RM10.4 million for the maintenance of schools.

This, he said, showed the Education Ministry and the Government have not neglected the infrastructure development of schools in the State.

He said this after visiting the site of the latest fire which destroyed one block of SK Dualog in Kudat on Friday - the sixth primary school in the State to suffer a similar fate within two months.

He said the school was built in 1976 and has a total of 13 teachers and 77 pupils, including 19 preschoolers, adding that a security guard on duty alerted rescue personnel upon realising the fire about 1.50pm.

The fire, he said, destroyed the administration office, Primary One and Primary six classrooms, library, storerooms and eight computer sets.

It was learnt that no casualty was reported as the school was closed for the holiday.

On another note, Jame said the department has received a total of RM5 million from the Government for the five schools which were previously razed, namely SK Pekan Kiulu, SK Gadong Beaufort, SK Tempasak Kinarut Papar, SK Simpangan Kota Marudu and SK Penambawan Tuaran.

On May 15, one block of SK Penimbawan, Tuaran was gutted in a fire which destroyed Primary Six, Primary Two and Primary Three classrooms, the teachers room, library, rehabilitation centre and the administration room, while the pre-school was spared from further damage.

On May 5, two blocks of SK Tampasak, Kinarut in Papar were razed, resulting in the damage of four classrooms, the library, Internet Access Centre, textbook storeroom and rehabilitation centres, while two other blocks were not affected.

A school block at SK Simpangan in Kota Marudu was also razed barely nine hours later where four classrooms, the headmaster's office, school seniors assistant offices, clerk office, surau, teacher's toilet, car garage and 120 chairs, among others, were damaged.

In March this year, SK Pekan Kiulu in Tuaran and SK Gadong in Beaufort were destroyed in fires the same day.

SK Pekan Kiulu lost one block that housed six classes, an administration office and resource centre, affecting about 187 pupils in the afternoon fire.

Classes resumed with pupils undergoing lessons under temporary tents placed under the flats parking area.

For SK Gadong, the fire destroyed the school's administration office, resource centre and sports storerooms but no lessons were cancelled in 11 classrooms.

Other items reported damaged were textbooks, 10 computers and learning equipment.